About Biota Nutri
- Founders: Peter Klein
- Founded in: 2017
- Employees: 20
- Money raised: -
- Ultimate goal: contribute to creating a world where circular, organic growing is accessible to everyone
Fertilizer is indispensable for our food supply. However, growers worldwide still often rely on chemical variants, which are not too healthy for the soil structure and the plants. Biota Nutri wants to do things differently and produces organic fertilizers made from residual flows. In this installment of Start-up of the day, founder and CEO Peter Klein talks about how his company is doing.
What exactly does Biota do?
“We make liquid, organic fertilizers that are just as effective as chemical alternatives. We use residual flows from the process industry. Just think of waste from brewer’s yeast or horticulture. We make 80 percent of the ingredients we need for our recipes ourselves and we get the rest from elsewhere.
We currently export our food lines to about 25 different countries. We market to professional agriculture and retail and mainly focus on urban and vertical farming.”
How did you get the idea to start Biota?
“I was once a flower and vegetable grower myself. There I had to deal with chemical fertilizers a lot and I wondered if that was really necessary. I was convinced that organic fertilizers should be able to feed a plant. To prove that, I started my own business.”
What are the benefits of organic fertilizers?
“If you use chemical fertilizers frequently, you will have to deal with corrosion, or in other words: the breakdown of your soil structure. Soil life will then deteriorate and your plants will become ill more quickly. This is not the case with organic fertilizers. You can also see that organically fed plants are more resilient during drought stress. They recover better after a dry period.
The energy consumption of the production of organic fertilizers is also much lower. On average, we use about 85 percent less energy in our production process.
In addition, we also do something useful with residual flows. You can solve local problems that way. In the Netherlands, for example, we use the waste from beer breweries. But we are also setting up a project in Uganda, for example, in which we use certain aquatic plants from lakes – which are a major burden for local fishermen there – to make fertilizers.”
What are you most proud of so far?
“On the fact that our organic products are just as effective as chemical variants. We measure this by looking at the number of products harvested. It is always said that you cannot feed the world with organic fertilizers, but we show that we can. And in the long run, we actually leave the competition behind us. We are very happy with that.”
What challenges are you facing?
“Everything related to regulations, registration, and certification is a real challenge. Because this can differ enormously per country. Canada, for example, is much stricter than America when it comes to regulation. For example, there are differences in raw materials you can use in your products. We prefer to deliver all our products through a single, streamlined process, but that can be quite a puzzle.”
What’s the next step?
“Our next goal is to achieve not just an equal, but a higher production with organic fertilizers compared to chemical variants. In general, they are a bit more expensive, but if production only increases by a few percent, and we can also keep the soil healthy, then there is no reason at all not to go for organic. Ultimately, I hope that we can make a great contribution to making this planet more sustainable.”